This Cogenerational Pair Calls for ‘Radical Inclusion’ of Youth

This Cogenerational Pair Calls for ‘Radical Inclusion’ of Youth

I was thrilled when I heard about the new book, Why Aren’t We Doing This! Collaborating with Minors in Major Ways, written by Denise Webb, age 20, and Wendy Schaetzel Lesko, age 73, (both pictured above) and published by Youth Infusion, a clearinghouse co-founded by...

Music Is Having a Moment — And It’s a Cogenerational One.

Music Is Having a Moment — And It’s a Cogenerational One.

Sunday’s show featured three big moments reminding us that music can be a bridge not only across race, culture, and genre, but also age. Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs. Much attention, rightfully, has gone to the duet between Tracy Chapman, who turns 60 next month,...

A New Chapter for the Encore Fellowships Program

A New Chapter for the Encore Fellowships Program

We’re excited to share the news that the Encore Fellowships program has moved to The Fedcap Group, a new home with the capacity, networks and drive to help the groundbreaking program expand dramatically.  Got questions? We’ve got answers. What’s The Fedcap Group? The...

Overheard on Text: Communicating to Build Trust

Overheard on Text: Communicating to Build Trust

As colleagues from different generations (x/millennial), we’ve been leading talks and workshops sharing our insights about working across generations – what we call “cogeneration.” As we plan, we’re usually texting furiously, sharing ideas and reflections. So we...

For This Encore Fellow, the Reward Comes From Both Learning and Teaching

By Sarah McKinney Gibson | Jan 7, 2021

Kathleen Kostrzewa brought corporate IT and business development experience — plus age diversity — to the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program last year, when she joined the team as an Encore Fellow.

“Kathy has decades of experience and offers our team sage advice and a different perspective,” says Bethany Orozco, 34, the national recruitment and communications director. “She’s been able to help us take a step back, think more strategically and standardize processes and procedures.” 

Kostrzew’s Encore Fellowship recently ended, but she’s staying on as a part-time employee. She explains why below.

Kathleen Kostrzewa

This fellowship has been perfect for my background. I don’t know how I got so lucky, and at this time. My kids aren’t worried about me being isolated or bored. And I feel like I’m making an impact, which has always been important to me in my job — that I’m doing good work.

I’m also having a lot of fun, and I like the people I’m working with. We can’t wait to get together in-person, but for now everything is over Zoom. The two younger directors, Bethany and Angel, are teaching me a lot about that — they keep me up to date, help me stay sharp, and reaffirm how valuable my career experience is.

The pandemic had a big effect on how EnCorps STEM Teachers Program has operated. They don’t have an office, so they were used to working virtually as a team. But they do hold these big events, where hundreds of STEM professionals interested in changing careers and becoming teachers come together in-person. They had to do a huge pivot last spring, making these virtual.

They managed that incredibly well while I was working closely with the executive director and the board on the strategic plan. I also helped Bethany and Angel develop an annual talent development cycle, and succession planning was part of that.

We’re now rolling out a new program that’s all about taking STEM professionals and bringing them in as tutors. There are so many people out there like me — I’m retired and want to work, but not full-time in the classroom. We have a lot to offer, as mentors and coaches — roles that are more part-time. I signed up and recently started tutoring a sixth grade girl in math for two hours/week.

Honestly, I took awhile to make the decision to be a tutor – it is a big jump out of my comfort zone. However, working with EnCorps I know how much learning is being lost right now especially with middle school math students. My student is LatinX and her mother only speaks Spanish. We’ve had four sessions so far, and I just love it. It’s a new learning experience for me.

I’m joining EnCorps STEM part-time because I also homeschool my granddaughter two days/week. She lives nearby, and it’s been fun to spend that time with her.

We just moved here from the east coast a couple years ago, so we don’t have many friends locally. We live in a condo community of people over 50, and I see other people my age struggling during the pandemic. Some of our friends are like, how many streaming shows can we watch? They’re lonely. Hearing that makes me feel even more grateful.

What would I be doing if not for this?

Learn more about Encore Fellowships at: cogenerate.org/encore-fellowships